Haven’t heard yet of the Finnish progressive metal act JOVIAC? You aren’t the first – we were introduced to the band through their label, as they released their sophomore album “Here and Now” on 3 April 2020 through Inverse Records.
The instrumental intro of “Here and Now” immediately showed me the talent of this young band – not only did the musicality of the intro surprise me, since it’s quite nostalgic of old prog acts and classic rock acts, but the quality of the sound also immediately sounded very promising. The intro did a very good job of hyping me up for the next track, “Straws.” The song balances between poppy melodies in the chorus with punchy rhythms and intriguing sections, slightly reminiscent of bands like TESSERACT. “Black Mirror” continues similarly, but also has some elements of alternative rock blended in its riffing, making it a little bit more straightforward.
Title track “Here and Now” is nine minutes in length, the longest track on the album, and also includes a special guest guitar solo by Matias Kupiainen (STRATOVARIUS); this is perhaps my favorite track on the album as everything works very well together and definitely showcases a lot of ambition in one track. “Decay” starts off as a really chill song, with smooth and funky bass melodies, fun riffs, transcendent rhythms, and a captivating vocal performance. “Crossfire” starts off as a typical American heavy metal track, balancing on country-styled music. The song starts off mellow but develops into a beautiful song, taking you through a soundscape about anxiety and depression. The last track, “Fade into the Light” starts off really slowly. If you think the song might be a ballad, you’re mistaken as it gradually builds up to a transcendent, creative piece of music that builds up to a beautiful climax and ends the album on the highest note possible.
Overall, JOVIAC managed to really surprise me with their “Here and Now,” in fact, this might just be one of the most promising progressive rock/metal acts from Finland at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they have in store for us. With a well-balanced production, the album had a lot of catchy and poppy moments, alongside creative and progressive songwriting, a must-listen to for any proghead wanting to explore the Finnish scene further.
3. Black Mirror
4. Here And Now
7. Fade Into The Light
Viljami Wenttola – Vocals, Guitars, Synths
Antti Varjanne – Bass
Rudy Fabritius – Drums